A Little Food P*rn from Scottsdale

We all know one of the greatest things about traveling and roving retirement is enjoying the food. Our experience in Scottsdale was no different. Owing to the touristy nature of Scottsdale, there was no shortage of decent places to enjoy some food and drinks. Overall, many were at least partially open during this Covid-crisis. Even better, we found prices lower than the Bay Area. Happily, we were able to get an outdoor (read: socially distanced) table at most places.

High End

Scottsdale is perhaps the most affluent part of the Phoenix area and the dining options reflect that. There were many nice local and chain restaurants to choose from. Still, Diana and I chose to try not to overindulge, with mixed results.

We went to both Morton’s and Bourbon Steak (a Michael Mina restaurant). They were both very good, as expected. Bourbon Steak, at the Fairmont Princess resort, has sleek ultra-modern lines and a lovely patio. We chose to go on the 4th of July to catch the fireworks on the property at the Fairmont.

To drum up business, Morton’s ran a great $99 prix fixe for two over Labor Day. Morton’s provided that essential darkroom, stuffed leather, distanced, white-tablecloth vibe at a nice price.

The Henry, Grassroots Kitchen and Tap and Olive and Ivy all provided casual but delicious food outdoors. Their vibes were on the more hip, craft cocktail, and apps side. Overall nice experiences. Also below are dishes from other places.

Favorite Finds

We enjoyed both White Chocolate Grill and Blue Adobe Grille enough to visit more than once. White Chocolate is a local steakhouse with great food and desserts. Blue Adobe specializes in cuisine from New Mexico. The Hatch Chile Relleno Combo will definitely be a must when we return to Scottsdale.

Just before we left, my friend Joe recommended we go to Richardson’s, an institution in Phoenix that also features New Mexican food. It did not disappoint. Be warned that the portions are big and that they only take reservations for parties over 4. We were able to quickly get a spot at the bar, but there are certainly no guarantees. Joe told me he usually goes for brunch, which is served until 4 pm.

Thai House was only open for takeout, but I loved their yellow curry so much we got it 3 times. Again, big portions at reasonable prices made for a tasty lunch the next day.


All was not perfect food-wise in the Valley Of The Sun. OBON Sushi had only been open again for a week when we tried to eat there, but their service wasn’t yet up to snuff. Quite sometime after placing our order, the waiter came by to see if we wanted to order more, even though the first order had not even been served yet. His lack of awareness just pissed me off and we left before all the food we ordered was served after waiting quite a bit longer.

Poke Bar was doing poke bowl take out, but all of the ingredients and sauces were crammed into the same takeout container, what a soggy mess. All the distinct flavors melded together in a way that just didn’t work. Carlos O’Brien’s had great service but the typical Mexican fare just wasn’t that good. I should have known from prior visits to other cities.

Happy Hour Heaven

Given my love of Happy Hour, you can take it as a strong statement when I say the Phoenix/Scottsdale area has the most impressive offerings I have found. Happy Hour is available all over and in at least several places you can get it from 3-7 pm every day. happyhourzaz.com is a great resource to help you find where to go for whatever experience you are looking for.

The Social on 83rd had great cocktails, a hip vibe, and games scattered around. Roaring Fork was more evocative of cowboy culture. Their green chile mole was a great nosh. Ling and Louie’s can’t decide if it is Asian or Italian, but the food and drinks were good either way.

Liberty Station had cheap and good Mexican dishes and drinks on a nice patio. Cheesecake Factory. Yeah, Cheesecake Factory. I had never been for their Happy Hour, but the quality, variety, and pricing made it worthwhile.

What is your favorite Arizona restaurant?


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